If a recipe says "untested"...

We want to post scans of all the original recipes so everyone in our family can enjoy them even if we haven't gotten around to testing each one in our modern kitchen. As we test each recipe, we will add our notes and photos to the recipes we do test and remove the note "untested" in the title. If you make one of the untested recipes, take a photo of the finished product and send us a note to let us know of your experience so we may include those in the recipes as well.

Thursday, March 29, 2012


On a cool rainy evening, there's nothing better than fresh hot cornbread, right? So I dug around in the recipe box and found an extremely faded and water-stained recipe written in my Grammy's handwriting. At the top it says "Mother's" which means this is the recipe my great-grandmother El used to make.

Hubby decided to tackle this recipe. The first thing I had to do was transcribe the recipe onto something readable, so I typed it into the computer and printed it out for him to reference.

Here's how the original recipe reads:
2 eggs
1 cup corn meal
1 Tablespoon melted fat (Hubby figured out this means butter)
1 tsp salt
½ cup flour
1 cup milk
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 tsp baking powder

To beaten yolks add butter, milk, sugar and salt.
Add flour and corn meal which have been thoroughly mixed
Add baking powder and beaten whites
Bake in greased shallow pan in a hot oven for 30 min
Cut into squares and serve hot
Once Hubby figured out that the melted fat in the ingredients list that isn't mentioned in the directions actually was the same thing as the butter that is mentioned, the rest of the recipe seemed pretty straight forward.

Well, except for the term "hot oven" which Hubby determined safely meant 350F (177C).

Here are the steps Hubby followed in our modern kitchen:
  1. Preheat oven to 350F (177C)
  2. Combine flour and cornmeal, mix thoroughly
  3. Melt butter in pyrex bowl in microwave
  4. Separate eggs putting yolks and whites in separate bowls
  5. Beat yolks lightly then add butter, milk, sugar and salt
  6. With electric mixer, beat whites until barely foamy
  7. Combine egg yolk mixture with the flour/cornmeal mixture and stir until smooth
  8. Add egg whites and baking powder to the mixture and beat with electric mixer until smooth
  9. Pour mixture into 8"x 8" greased pyrex dish
  10. Bake at 350F (177C) for 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean
Our official verdict post-tasting:

We think this cornbread was intended to be served with honey or preserves spread on it to add sweetness. With just butter it lacks the sweetness necessary to bring out the corn taste we crave when we think of fresh hot cornbread. It also was far too salty.

Hubby has determined that in the future he'll make the following adjustments to the recipe:
  • Increase the amount of sugar to 3 Tablespoons
  • Decrease the salt ½ teaspoon
  • Not bother to separate the eggs. There doesn't seem to be any point. Instead just lightly beat them before adding to the rest of the ingredients (we're not making a souffle, people)
  • Because I prefer taller cornbread, I would try putting it in a smaller pan or increasing the recipe to get more batter
Here's how we recommend the recipe should be made in a modern kitchen:

2 eggs
1 cup corn meal
1 Tbsp melted unsalted butter
½ tsp salt
½ cup flour
1 cup milk
3 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder

  1. Preheat oven to 350F (177C)
  2. Combine flour, cornmeal and baking powder and mix thoroughly
  3. Melt butter in pyrex bowl in microwave
  4. Lightly beat eggs as if you were preparing scrambled eggs
  5. Add butter, milk, sugar and salt to eggs
  6. Add flour/cornmeal/baking powder mixture and mix until smooth
  7. Pour mixture into greased loaf pan
  8. Bake at 350F (177C) for 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean

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